Congratulations on making this important decision to invest in your future! Applying for aid may seem daunting, but we're here to help!
Complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You (and your parent, if you are a dependent student) will need a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) which you can apply for at the time you file the FAFSA online. The FSA ID allows you to electronically sign your FAFSA. Instructions are available at FAFSA.gov.
Please note: If you are an Illinois resident but are ineligible for federal aid as an undocumented or transgender student, you can still apply for state assistance. The Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act became law in January 2020. Find out whether you should complete the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid instead of the FAFSA.
Remember that the earlier you apply, the more likely you are to receive financial aid.
Read FAQs about FAFSA and financial aid eligibility.
Check your MyNIU "To Do List" and your NIU student email regularly. If we are missing information or if you are selected for verification, you'll be notified through these channels to provide additional documentation.
After we review your application, your awards will be posted to MyNIU under your Financial Aid Tile for your review. We will send you an email at your NIU email address when your award is posted. Check your email regularly for this award notification email. It contains important information about your financial aid package.
You'll receive an award notification once your FAFSA and all requested documents are turned in and processed. Your award notification will include all financing you are offered. This includes all scholarships, grants, loans and work-study that you are eligible for on federal, state, and university levels.
New undergraduates receive their initial award notice through the U.S. Postal Service. After that, you receive an email notification through your university email account. Or simply check under the "Financial Aid" section of MyNIU.
The financial aid process may seem complicated, but it helps to get the full picture of all expenses involved and what you can expect to pay before and after financial aid.
Once your FAFSA and additional documents have been received by NIU and processed, your award package will be posted to your MyNIU "Financial Aid Award Summary." You must accept or decline your awards or you may risk forfeiting your aid. We typically begin sending award notifications in early March and continue throughout the academic year.
Learn more about accepting/declining your financial aid award.
A crucial step!
If you are a first-time Federal Direct loan borrower, you will need to complete entrance counseling and sign your Master Promissory Note.
Find out more about the federal loans process.
You may wish to explore these next steps related to managing your student account.
It felt like home right when I got here. I’m paying for college on my own and everyone here has been so supportive. My instructors, the scholarship office, they really helped me out because I make the grades and they want to keep me here.
Use NIU's School Code when completing the FAFSA.